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Shnay: ‘Max’ driven to irrational scheme by plentiful potholes

Updated: April 24, 2014 6:11AM



For the sake of his safety, let’s call him Max, as in “Mad Max.” Max is fighting mad over the condition of the roads after this miserable winter.

“Some of the streets look as if they were in the middle of a war in the Third World,” he said in a telephone conversation. “These are not just potholes out there. They are more like craters.”

He acknowledges that the 70-plus inches of snow, the continual scraping of streets by plows and brief spates of warm weather that turned snow to slush and then to ice made the streets this bad, but Max said that’s no excuse for barely drivable streets.

And yes, Max understands that each town is responsible only for the streets within its borders, but he claims that a driver cannot go from one suburb to another without making some swerves to avoid these deep hollows.

As of last Sunday, Max checked off the list of bad roads.

“I think someone set off land mines at the Western Avenue and (U.S.) 30 intersection,” he said. “Sauk Trail west of Governors Highway is in shambles. It’s no better on parts of Kedzie Avenue, and most of the other streets.”

When he delivers his kids to Prairie State College, Max claims that the school has invented a new sport — the Sedan Slalom, in which a driver must make a sharp left, then a quick right, another right, then a hard left just to get to the school’s side door.

More than that, Max believes nighttime driving on some of these pockmarked roads is an invitation to disaster.

“You can’t see those holes until you hit one,” he said.

Max, however, is not a mere griper. He has a plan to help drivers.

What if each fillable pothole was circled with luminous yellow paint visible after dark, he asked rhetorically. It would be a visible warning to drivers, especially at night. Once you see bright yellow paint on the street, it will be enough of a warning, Max believes.

But why not fill the potholes instead of spray painting them?

“Fool,” replied Max. “They fill the holes with cold patches which disappear in a few days. The only way to really fix the roads is to repave them. Don’t hold your breath on that one.”

Upon asking around, we were told that painting potholes could be construed as a “legal promise” that every mini-crater will be repaired. Local government, aware that lawyers lurk where brave men fear to tread, don’t like to issue such guarantees. Too many “what ifs,” and “yes buts” get in the way.

When told of this, Max was not amused.

“I may do this myself,” he said. “I have an old Batman costume from Halloween complete with black cape and mask. I can find some spray paint, and if the streets are busy during the day, I can wait until there is little traffic on the road at night.”

But that could lead to you being arrested as a suspected burglar or being accused of defacing the streets.

“Hah,” Max replied. “The streets are already defaced, but I will spray yellow circles around the eyes of my mask. They will know why I am doing this.”

It was also explained to Max that, beyond risking his personal freedom, he could be struck by a driver more concerned with other things than a man dressed in black on a dark thoroughfare at night. One can only see yellow circles around the eye slits at a close distance. Is eight inches close enough, we asked?

In the end, Max granted that such a possibility would deter him from his nighttime spray-paint excursion and ended the conversation abruptly.

“You will hear from me, wretch,” were his final words.

I can hardly wait.



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